The Chef’s Garden, created at the InterContinental Houston, has continued to shine since its inception. The garden has been a hit for the Executive Chef and his team, with its produce being used everywhere from restaurant specials and catered events to the prestigious in-kitchen dining, TableOne dinners. The success has been contagious and can now be found in the bar’s new cocktail list, appropriately named “From Our Garden to Our Bar.”
Jeroen Pijpers, Bar Manager, and the bar crew have incorporated herbs from the Chef’s Garden into many of the recipes found in their cocktail list. Their signature drink, Pistolero, uses fresh, handpicked mint from the garden. Jeroen and his team have also complemented the garden herbs with additional fresh, organic products such as the certified organic Republic Blanco Tequila, delivered in its unique Texas-shaped bottle. The final touch to the drink was to make it fun. Each time a patron orders the Pistolero, the bartenders trigger the playing of a song featuring gunslingers shooting off six-shooters. Other featured cocktails are the Kentucky Basil Julep and the Pineapple Basil Mojito, both aromatized and adorned with fresh basil from our garden.
This drink menu was also created with community awareness in mind. Inspiration came from the success of the Blue II Martini, which was named after Blue II, the Butler University bulldog mascot. This drink was promoted during the NCAA March Madness basketball tournament and all proceeds went to the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (HSPCA). Following that model, the hotel has made the Blue II Martini a permanent fixture on the cocktail menu and 10% of all proceeds are donated to the HSPCA in honor of Blue II himself!
It can be said that the Chef’s Garden has not only helped to raise the level of sustainability, freshness, and use of organic ingredients in the kitchen, but it has also helped in “raising the bar.”